PhD Urban Climate Resilience

Updated: Jul 19

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Climate is changing, and our cities will have to adapt. Resilience has rapidly risen to the top of the agenda to cope with a changing climate, extreme weather events and ensure the liveability of our cities. However, there are many challenges pertaining to measuring and improving resilience in complex urban systems. What is required is a dynamic framework that combines the social, environmental, and infrastructural factors of resilience vis-à-vis a range of hazards.

The low-lying delta of the Netherlands is particularly vulnerable, and the high value of assets situated in one of most density populated countries in Europe. Given these challenges, The Netherlands must re-design new urban areas to become more resilient and retrofit its existing real estate to cope with these trends. In addition, urban planning and development are further challenged by a continuous pressure from population growth and housing demand, and important choices must be made where and how to build urban areas in a “climate proof” way to enable sustainable living in the Dutch Delta. This PhD position is part of the RED&BLUE research initiative, a major new program funded by the Dutch Research Council. This initiative aims to develop transdisciplinary knowledge on climate resilient real estate and infrastructure development. More information can be found at: As a member of the RED&BLUE, you will lead high impact research on a pressing societal topic relevant within the Netherlands and beyond. Your research will enable you to actively collaborate with excellent researchers and societal partners, providing you with exceptional mentorship, personal development, and networking opportunities. The consortium, led by the TU Delft, includes more than 30 Dutch and international academic and societal partners from government, finance, development, engineering and beyond. At the university of Maastricht, we will establish a project team across the departments of Digitalisation & Data Analytics and Finance.

Your work will start with collecting historical data on urban infrastructure networks and their evolution, as well as demographic and socio-economic information that allows us to build a resilience metrics and dashboards for selected municipalities in the Netherlands. We will especially investigate the link between urban infrastructure resilience and social resilience, and how it evolves over time and in space. By overlaying the urban resilience results with historical hazard data about past floods and storms, (collected by our project partners at IVM, Amsterdam) and with data on the evolution of real-estate data (collected by the Maastricht team) we will analyse how the different neighbourhoods in a city have recovered from shocks and stresses, and what the impact of disruptions and risks are on real-estate development and prizes. This allows decision-makers and urban planners improve urban resilience.


  • As a successful candidate, you will have experience in spatial data analytics along with the good statistics and programming skills that you will need to analyse historical urban data and develop our resilience dashboard and framework. You will have strong quantitative skills in data assessment, programming, and machine Learning/statistical methods.

  • You have a degree Masters degree that relates to (urban) data science, e.g., in econometrics, data sciences, engineering, applied mathematics, statistics, or a related field

  • You are curious and thrive in a multi-disciplinary environment and enjoy working together with other researchers of different backgrounds.

  • The final PhD thesis will be composed of four peer reviewed scientific papers describing the current and future urban resilience, and describe how the interplay of social, economic and environmental factors shape urban resilience. To realise this ambition, you will need excellent spoken and written English (at least at the level of C1).

CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT Fixed-term contract: We offer a full-time employment contract as a PhD candidate. The employment contract will be for a period of 1,5 years and will be extended for another 2,5 years after positive evaluation.

  • We offer a rewarding career at a young university in the heart of Europe, with a distinct global perspective and a strong focus on innovative research and education, embedded in a strong team and excellent consortium;

  • The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO), supplement with local UM provisions. For more information on terms of employment, please visit our website > About UM > Working at UM

  • The salary will be set in the PhD-candidate salary scale of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (€ 2.443 gross per month in the first year up to € 3.122 gross per month in the fourth year). On top of this, there is an 8% holiday allowance and a 8.3% year-end allowance;

  • We offer an attractive package of fringe benefits such as reduction on collective health insurance, substantial leave arrangements, optional model for designing a personalised benefits package and application for attractive fiscal arrangements for employees from abroad.

EMPLOYER Maastricht University - School of Business and Economics Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 22.000 students and 5.000 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts six faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. For more information, see

School of Business and Economics SBE is the youngest economics and business faculty in the Netherlands with a distinctively international profile. It belongs to the 1% of business schools worldwide to be triple-crown accredited (EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA). SBE strongly believes in close connections with its academic partners and societal stakeholders, with its students and alumni, and with businesses and organisations in the Limburg Euregion, the Netherlands, Europe and the rest of the world. SBE is committed to increasing the gender diversity of its academic community and wants to stimulate the creation of a more diverse and inclusive community. For more information see:

DEPARTMENT Data Analytics and Digitalisation The department of Data Analytics and Digitalisation (DAD) connects data science (mathematics, statistics, computer science, artificial intelligence) with business and economics research (finance, accounting, marketing, information management, operations, micro- and macroeconomics, policy design). We are responsible for conducting top-level research in data science for business and economics ranging from fundamental theoretical studies to applied industrial projects. We work together with various partners, like the Institute of Data Science, Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering, Brightlands Smart Services Campus, and external organisations and companies creating a strong regional and international data science cluster.

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